Department of State March 1. 1797.
The Secretary of States has the honor to lay before the President of the United States the opinion of the Attorney General, that a secretary may be allowed to a Minister Resident, or Chargé des Affaires.
The Secretary has considered the situation of our affairs with the Barbary powers, & particularly with Algiers, and the necessity of a consul to reside there. That altho’ Mr Barlow desires to be relieved, that he may return to his former pursuits, yet as he has in fact assumed, by Colo. Humphreys’ advice & appointment, the office of Consul or Consul General for Algiers, and as the enquiries of the Secretary have discovered no fit character for the office, he submits his opinion of the expediency of a formal appointment of Mr Barlow as Consul General for the Kingdoms or Regences of Algiers, Tunis & Tripoli. The seal he has procured is that of Consul General; and it appears to the Secretary that there should be on that coast a person of much respectability who should have the superintendency of the Consuls at Tunis & Tripoli; whose conduct, especially in money matters, may be controuled by a superiour character resident at Algiers; and one such character it is hoped may eventually be found. Mr Barlow does not consider it indispensably necessary that the character of Consul General which he has assumed, should be sanctioned by a formal appointment: yet the appointment now appears necessary, to enable the President to make another appointment in the recess; seeing Mr Barlow intends to leave Algiers as soon as our affairs will admit of it.
James Simpson, late Consul at Gibraltar, a man very respectable, having been appointed Consul of the U.S. for Morocco, the Secretary requested him to mention the name of a gentleman whom he could recommend for his successor at Gibraltar. He has warmly recommended John Gavino, who has resided there a number of years, and is well acquainted with the business of that part of the world, and its relations with America.
On the recommendation of the Secretary of War, of Mr Frederick Folger late of Baltimore, as a fit person for consul at Aux Cayes, in St Domingo, where he resided, the Secretary of State wrote him a letter the 10th August last, desiring him to render any aid in his power to American Citizens who should visit that port. He has since written to the secretary a number of letters, manifesting his attention & good sense; and he now wishes the consular appointment. The Secretary is satisfied of his abilities & attention, & the recommendation of him as a good character, by Mr McHenry, induces the Secretary to mention him to the President as proper to be appointed Consul of the U. States for Aux Cayes & ports adjacent in the Island of St Domingo.
The only remaining appointment recollected by the Secretary as proper to be immediately made, is that of an Agent to reside in Great Britain, for the relief and protection of American seamen, in the room of Mr Trumbull declined. The Secretary hopes to be able to present a name to the President to-morrow morning, for this office, if the President should not in the mean time have designated any one for it.
DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.